Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Creative messaging and sensitisation to kick Ebola out of Congo

By Esther Nakkazi

Officials in the Ministry of Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo have turned to sports to sensitize the public especially the youth about Ebola. This was after it was observed that young people were often the source of reluctance in the community and the first perpetrators of the destruction of sanitary materials.

The aim of the football tournament was to appease this youth, raise awareness about Ebola and invite them to take ownership of the Ebola response to end the epidemic, a statement from the Ministry of Health says.

To sensitize the public and particularly the youth, the coordination of the Ebola response organized a football tournament in Beni and Butembo in order to build trust with the youth of both cities. The last phases of the football tournament 'Ebola Pas Chez Moi' started on Monday, December 17, 2018, with the final and the small final of Butembo. 

After two weeks of strong emotions, it was the 'Racing Club of Kivu' (RCK) team that won the title of tournament champion in Butembo after having imposed on penalties against the team 'Jeunesse Sportive de Butembo '(JSB). The RCK will face Beni's championship team in the Grand Final of the tournament and attempt to win the Cup of Hope this Thursday, December 20, 2018.

Throughout the tournament, many awareness activities were organized including community animators who animated the games with messages and awareness songs. After being trained on the disease and the means of prevention, the young players themselves became involved in raising public awareness by recording prevention messages that were also broadcast by local radio stations. 

A special prize was awarded to the player of the tournament voted the best sensitizer of the competition. Handwashing and temperature sensing devices were installed at the entrance to all stadiums. 

In addition, on the sidelines of the Butembo final, experts from the different pillars of the Ebola response were set up in stands and answered all the public's questions about the epidemic.
Meanwhile, vaccination has continued wide-belt vaccination (or ring plus) in Otomaber (in Komanda Health Zone) and Aloya (in Mabalako Health Zone). Continued immunization of primary care providers in the Goma Health Zone.

The ministry records show that since vaccination began on 8 August 2018, 48,048 people have been vaccinated, including 19,017 in Beni, 8,619 in Katwa, 5,077 in Mabalako, 4,974 in Butembo, 2,208 in Kalunguta, 1,663 in Mandima, 824 in Komanda, 791 in Vuhovi, 750 to Masereka, 700 to Lubero, 670 to Oicha, 607 to Kyondo, 599 to Mutwanga, 434 to Bunia, 355 to Tchomia, 344 to Musienene, 257 to Goma, 70 to Biena, 63 to Alimbongo, 13 to Karisimbi and 13 to Kisangani.


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